Workington Town prop forward Ryan Verlinden says he is in the 'shape of his life' and ready for the Championship to start next weekend.

The 28-year-old arrived in the UK earlier this week and although he has missed out on pre-season with Town, he has been training with his former club Newtown Jets.

Weighing in at just shy of 19 stone, Verlinden is two-and-a-half stone lighter than he was last year when he played for both Featherstone and Doncaster.

"I'm in the shape of my life at the moment," Verlinden said.

"I've been training really hard with Newtown and I'm at 120kg at the moment.

"I was 134 last year so it shows the comparison.

"I lost a lot of fat through consistent dieting and training and I'm looking forward to seeing how I go at this weight.

"I'm really fit, I'm flying and ready to go."

Verlinden played in the Championship last year but his first appearance didn't come until four months after the season started due to passport issues.

"It was difficult last season because I could train but the only way to get match fit is to play, and I couldn't do that," he continued.

"It's a massive advantage for me coming in now. I've only missed two trial games which isn't as bad as missing half a season."

The prop faces stiff competition in the front row against the likes of Marc Shackley, Kris Coward and Tom Walker, but the Aussie is relishing the fight for a spot in the team.

He added: "I've always said iron sharpens iron, and it's really healthy having competition.

"It keeps you on your toes and training hard.

"The boys have been great with me since I arrived.

"I was disappointed that our game this weekend had been cancelled but it helps me get another week of training under my belt.

"Chris [Murphy] and Phil [Veivers] were in contact all the time while I was back home and they were happy when I came in for testing."

Having previously played at Zebra Claims Stadium against Workington Town, Verlinden knows what to expect when welcoming opposition to west Cumbria.

"Having been with Featherstone and Doncaster last year, the mindset is nobody wants to come here to play," he said.

"The attitude was lets come up here and then get the hell out.

"I want to make this place a fortress.

"I'm going to train hard, run hard and put in every time for Town."